But even after an electric victory, all isnât peachy inside the locker room. And while Brooks is trying to communicate his way through issues that are beyond any single personâs control, one mere comeback victory isnât gluing back together a team dynamic that countless forces are chiseling. Morris, for example, is now on a mission familiar in D.C.: He wants to find the leakers. Heâs not the only one. âItâs fucked up whatâs going on,â he said when asked if a win like Tuesdayâs is better because it came after news about Thursdayâs practice came out. âSo, I wouldnât say that it makes it nicer. Weâve just got to figure it out.â
Morris isnât alone in feeling this way. Other Wizards players have privately expressed a displeasure with confidential information becoming public so quickly. A flashy victory may have muted the mid-game boos by the fourth quarter, but it didnât change everything going on inside the teamâs nucleus.
âWe still have a lot of stuff to fix. Itâs one game,â Bradley Beal said. âIâm still not happy. I know that everybody is still not happy with where we are. We still have a lot of work to do but you definitely take a lot of positives out of it, especially with all the negativity thatâs been around us. We take all the positives we can get.â
Andrew Greif: End of the first quarter: Clippers 40, Wizards 21. The Clippers are shooting 65.2% (5-8 from 3) and the Wizards are really bad.
Scott Brooks, along with Wall, Beal and Otto Porter, tried to downplay the obvious tension surrounding the franchise after a 5-11 start. "It happened last week," Brooks said, part of a three-minute opening statement to the media before he took questions. "We moved on from it as a team. Not trying to minimize what happened, but in all sports, all teams I've been on -- I've been in the league for almost 30 years as a player, as an assistant coach, as a head coach -- that has happened.â
Scott Brooks: "It's something that you understand that it's a competitive environment and a lot of times, you have adult conversations that get heated. And we all have to live with what we say and work things out when that does happen and move on."
Fred Katz: John Wall on how he evaluates his performance: "I could play better. Making shots-wise & all that. Everybody keeps saying Iâm not in shape. Iâm in shape. Just, I deal with injuries. I play through them. I donât complain about them. I go out there and give it everything Iâve got" pic.twitter.com/3VAtNWLJm5
Fred Katz: Otto Porter on if the Wizards can be critical of each other w/o conflict: "Of course. You see that weâre not winning. Everyone is frustrated. At the end of the day, we have to be able to communicate with each other so we can learn from it and try to build on things together."
Fred Katz: John Wall on if the team can get through its recent bump in the road: "Yeah, for sure. This is not the first time this happened. It happens all the time throughout an NBA season, depending on what team it is. Most of the time you just try to keep those things in the locker room."
Fred Katz: Bradley Beal on if heâs been this frustrated before during his seven years with the Wizards: âIâve been frustrated but frustrations happen...Iâve experienced things. You see things. You hear things. You live and learn.â pic.twitter.com/lJopUWhDue
Players were aboutâ to huddle toââ conclude the day and one mumbled some words under his breath, expressing unhappiness with the way things were going amid a 5-11 start. The Wizards were finishing up a turbulent practice that included verbal disagreements between Beal and Austin Rivers as well as Jeff Green and John Wall, sources told The Athletic. Coach Scott Brooks was involved in the fracas. Wall walked away with a rare fine from the team, sources said.
A source told The Athletic that changes are coming, including that âyou will notice a differenceâ going forward on how Brooks handles playersâ rotations. The team will consider trades, especially with guys who are perceived not to play hard every night, according to sources. âWeâre frustrated because weâre playing like shit,â another source told The Athletic.
Candace Buckner: While reporting this story, I've learned that in spite of Bradley Beal's heat-of-the-moment comments directed at #Wizards President Ernie Grunfeld, in which he said something along to the lines of 'I'm sick of this sh --!' ... Beal has NOT requested a trade,
Fred Katz: Bradley Beal and Austin Rivers didn't get along during their high school days, when they were both high-ranked recruits in the same class, but supposedly patched up their beef enough to play together when they had a make-good meeting in Florida this summer.
Fred Katz: From talking with people around the NBA, the league is as down on Wall's value as you'd imagine. Supermax deal ($170-plus million over four years) starts next year, and people are genuinely wondering about his locker room dynamic. Today isn't helping that.
The Washington Wizards fined All-Star guard John Wall for unloading a verbal barrage onto coach Scott Brooks in a recent practice session, league sources told ESPN. After teammate Jeff Green and Brooks pushed Wall and Wizards teammates to raise the level of intensity in a practice last week, Wall fired back with "F--- you," toward Brooks, league sources said.
The disconnect between Wall and his teammates has increased throughout the Wizards' struggles, league sources said. Washington is 5-11, and underachieving this season.
Candace Buckner: On Saturday, the #Wizards had this heated practice in which Bradley Beal and Austin Rivers had a verbal altercation. Beal grew heated and gestured toward Pres Ernie Grunfeld, and said something along the lines 'It starts at the top.' More details coming.
Adrian Wojnarowski: Story filed to ESPN: The Wizards fined All-Star John Wall for unloading a verbal barrage onto coach Scott Brooks in a recent practice. After Wall and his teammates had been challenged to raise intensity in that session, Wall fired back with "F--- you," to Brooks. Story soon.
Adrian Wojnarowski: Wall apologized to Brooks in the minutes after cursing him, and apologized to his teammates the following day, league sources tell ESPN.
Although Washington may be floundering during a 5-11 start to the season, there is a belief that the team has zero plans to move on from either of its franchise cornerstones, based on conversations with multiple league sources who have familiarity with the Wizards and how their front office operates. A Wizards spokesman, meanwhile, cited team policy by saying President of Basketball Operations Ernie Grunfeld âdoesnât comment on rumors, so he wonât comment on this one.â
When asked if he would be âsurprisedâ if the Wizards made a deal involving Wall or Beal, Brooks responded: âI mean, like I said, the start that weâre having, thereâs going to be rumors. Itâs just part of the business. Itâs just part of it. Iâve been in the league a long time, thatâs just always been the case.â
Shams Charania: Sources on @TheAthleticNBA @WatchStadium: The Washington Wizards had a volatile practice within recent days, with verbal altercations among players and an exasperated Bradley Beal saying toward team officials: "I've been dealing with this for seven years."
Shams Charania: Teams have these kinds of practices, and tension always reveals itself amid underperformance. Wizards are 5-11 so far this year. Several players had verbal back and forth in this practice, league sources said.
âIf all five of us give effort on that end, weâll be fine,â Wall said about the defensive end. âIf three of us give effort, we wonât be fine. If four give effort, we still wonât be fine. It takes five to all be on one page. Until we do that, weâre going to keep having these ups and downs.â
Fred Katz: Austin Rivers is not happy with the 5-11 Wizardsâ start: âWeâre 5-and â I donât even know what the fuck we are. Our recordâs terrible.â
Fred Katz: Brooks on getting down 29 and the lack of effort: "That's embarrassing... Look what happened, the guys off the bench. They played with passion."
Fred Katz: Brooks has been as hard on the team tonight as he's been all year: "There's no way to win games if you're not competing for your teammates, and I gotta find five guys that are willing to do that."
A man whoseâ confidence hasâ beenâ abundant since adolescence, whoseâ words usually matchââ whatever swagger he shows on the court, whose middle initial of âJâ has always seemed perfectly appropriate, will no longer shoot a basketball. And he wonât say why. âThatâs a great question. I canât answer that for you,â Rivers said when asked about his dwindling shot attempts. âIf I say something, Iâm gonna get in trouble. [Iâll] figure it out. Iâm gonna have to figure it out.â
âWith John and Brad, theyâre so good, and they demand so much attention. They can play-make,â Brooks said. âWhen we have Austin out there, we gotta figure out ways that we can give him more opportunities. And like I said, thatâs on me. I gotta do a better job.â
The Magic used that same ball to spur a 52-23 run, jump to an eventual 25-point lead and close out a 117-108 victory. The Wizards cut the deficit to one point in the fourth quarter, but once again, dropped oft-used buzz terms after the game. Pride. Passion. Effort. They didnât have it, they said, after falling to 2-9. âIâm not taking no more moral victories, bro. Weâre 2-9,â Austin Rivers said. âThereâs no more, âWe played well the second half.â We just lost to the Magic. Weâre 2-9.â
âA catastrophe is in the making in Washington, in our nationâs capital, as it pertains to basketball,â Stephen A. Smith said Thursday on âFirst Take.â " .â.â. The situation with John Wall is so bad Iâm getting pictures of John Wall off the court, [where] people are seeing him. Theyâre bringing up Rosebar, one of the most popular nightclubs, if not the most popular nightclub, in Washington, D.C. Theyâre talking about off-field habits. John Wall, pay attention!â
Wall apparently was paying attention. The point guard got wind of Smithâs comments and shared a message for his critics during an Instagram Live session from Orlando, where the Wizards will take on the Magic on Friday. âItâs a long season, everybody donât start off great,â he said. âKeep being a fan, Iâm gonna keep hooping. If you donât like it, you can hike it. Facts!â
A commenter asked why Wall, who was chilling in a hot tub, wasnât in the gym. âI ainât in the gym because I just left practice âbout an hour or two ago, so now Iâm relaxing with my feet up,â Wall said. âBut donât tell the fans I said that. They think Iâm supposed to stay in the gym all day.â
Beal acknowledged that the speculation around the team, and demands that it be broken up, are unavoidable but added that he canât feed into the negativity. âI donât do it. I donât believe in that. I feel thatâs quitting on your team, quitting on everybody,â Beal told The Athletic after the Wizardsâ 134-111 loss to Oklahoma City. âI understand that itâs a business at the end of the day and if thatâs what somebody is going to do, thatâs what theyâre going to do. But Iâm a leader of this team. Iâve been here for seven years. I refuse to have any type of ship sinking. I canât let it sink without fighting. Thatâs who I am. Thatâs how I was built. Iâm going to fight my ass off until the end. I promise you that.â
An NBA scout who has observed the Wizards recently called them the worst team heâs seen all season, given its shoddy defense, abysmal body language and nonexistent effort. Though the Wizards bounced back from a similarly dreadful start two years ago in Brooksâ first season, reaching Game 7 of the conference semifinals, the scout wasnât optimistic that this team was capable of a repeat. âApril 9,â he said, mentioning the last day of the regular season. âThatâs it for these guys.â
âCanât keep saying the same shit over and over,â Beal said. âWe continue to say what we need to do but itâs not going to change until we do it, plain and simple.â
Wizards owner Ted Leonsis went through a series of media interviews alongside NBA commissioner Adam Silver. As Silver was asked about the increase in scoring in the NBA this season, Leonsis interjected with a quip about his own franchise. "They just have to play us," Leonsis said.
Leonsis, who sat courtside as his Wizards were demolished by the Oklahoma City Thunder the night before, is bothered by their inability to defend. "When you score 125 points and you're losing by 25, it usually says you need to play a little bit of defense," he told NBC Sports Washington. "Right now, we really have to get a structure in place and especially defend the three-ball."
"I hope the team isn't looking at the precedent we set when we started [2-8] a couple of years ago and went to Game 7 against the Celtics and almost went to the [Eastern Conference] Finals. We won 49 games that year. You don't want to just fall so far behind and more importantly, you don't want to fall into these bad habits," he said.
Porter didnât seem too worked up about it. He said the Wizards âgotta play togetherâ and âcanât have our heads down.â âWe got to encourage each other,â Porter said. âWeâre not going to get it from the media. Weâre not going to get it from the opposite fans, the opposite team. Weâve got to stick together.â
Fred Katz: Otto Porter on if he agrees with Wall's & Beal's comments: "I canât say that. But you gotta play together. We canât have our heads downâŚ So we gotta figure, hey, we gotta play for each other. Nobodyâs cheering for us. We gotta be our own backbone. We gotta carry each other."
Fred Katz: Brooks on comments from last night about guys having their own agendas: "Everybodyâs frustrated. I get that. I kinda like that. I like the fact that we are frustrated that we didnât take care of business last night, but itâs about us. Itâs not about one particular guy."
Fred Katz: More Brooks: "Itâs early in the season. Iâm glad itâs not game 60, and weâre still frustrated with how weâre playing."
John Wall and Bradley Beal called out their teammates for having their "own agendas" after a 116-112 loss to the Sacramento Kings on Friday night. Washington dropped to 1-4 to start the season, with the pair of All-Star guards blasting the Wizards' effort on the defensive end of the floor, where Washington is giving up 122.8 points a game, second-worst in the league. "Sometimes we have our own agendas on the floor, whether it's complaining about shots, complaining about playing time, complaining about whatever it may be," Beal said. "We're worried about the wrong (expletive) and that's not where our focus needs to be and it's just going to continue to hurt us."
Wall agreed after the Wizards committed a season-high 21 turnovers and wilted in the fourth quarter. "Everybody on their own agenda," said Wall. "We showed glimpses when we do stuff as a team, we show how good we can be, and then we go back to trying to do it individually, and that's mostly on the defensive end."
Fred Katz: John Wall on if he's surprised the team is having this convos only five games into the year: "For sure. I am, because I feel like we have a veteran team and itâs like, we go back to the same thing...Just because itâs on paper donât mean anything," pic.twitter.com/siQdpxRvSL
"We got guys who's worried about who's getting shots, where the ball is going on the offensive end," Wall said. "We should never worry about that. No matter if we're missing or making shots, we got to be able to compete on the other end, and if you can't do it on both ends of the floor, you don't need to be playing."
When reminded of that, Brooks reiterated âI like the way Kellyâs playingâ but added, âOtto, he has to just keep playing and canât worry about your shots and worry about your shot-making, but Kelly is playing well.â When Porter was asked if he would speak for an interview after the game, he said, âNo, I donât have a minute.â
Wall thinks the Wizards need to more weapons around him and All-Star shooting guard Bradley Beal. "Just got to add some pieces," he said. "A lot, to be honest. There's a lot that we can use... I think it's pretty obvious. I don't need to point it out. I think the way the league is going, you need athletic bigs, you need scoring off the bench, you need all of those types of things. We don't really have an athletic big. I mean, Ian [Mahinmi] is older. [Marcin Gortat] is older. They're not athletic guys, but they do the little things that permit their game to help as much as possible."
Candace Buckner: John Wall has repeated often about wanting âguys who want to be here.â And he said itâs obvious the #Wizards need âathletic bigsâ moving forward.
Gortat had plenty to say about the teamâs selfishness on the defensive end. âI agree completely,â Gortat said about Brooksâs âselfishâ comments. âIt comes from the coach, and we as the players, weâve seen that during the game. We feel that sometimes. It has to change. It has to change as soon as possible. Itâs not only on one guy. Itâs on a lot of people. You canât win basketball games if youâre just thinking about yourself.
Gortat continued: âFor example, if Iâm guarding DeMarcus Cousins or Karl-Anthony Towns, heâs going to beat me to the paint or heâs going to have a better position than me, Iâm going to need a guard to help me out and a big to throw extra hands and extra bodies under the basket to help me to stop that guy. And the same way goes for guys like Russell Westbrook coming here or LeBron James coming here, and Iâve got to help my teammates to stop these guys from getting to the paint and bully them to the paint.â
âLooking at the things we were doing over the course of the year, over the course of the last couple games. Just seeing our demeanor and our approach and seeing two different teams,â Beal said. âThey showed us clips of us last year in the playoffs. Just our intensity, our focus, our grit and grind, attention for detail for everything was a lot better. So, thatâs who we need to be.â
Chase Hughes: Scott Brooks is very frustrated about the Wizards not sharing the ball. He is as mad as we have seen him postgame. Said âitâs embarrassing that we donât play with the passion we need.â
Candace Buckner: Just left a VERY tense #Wizards locker room â in which Otto Porter Jr. and Tomas Satoransky were the only starters who stuck around long enough to talk. Both guys responded with variations of âI donât knowâ when asked for their diagnosis of whatâs wrong with this team now
"I'm tired of talking about this s***. It's just the same thing over and over," he said. "Until we do it individually and together collectively, we're going to get our asses kicked in the playoffs. This isn't even remotely acceptable, how we are playing right now."
Beal was sick of his own play and that of his teammates when addressing the media afterwards. "We're acting like we don't give a damn, honestly. We thought we could just show up and play because they didn't have anything to play for. We just thought it was going to be a cake walk and they just smacked us in the mouth," Beal said.
In an ESPN interview, Wall described feeling taken aback by Gortatâs tweet, saying he was surprised the center placed the word team in quotations. More than a week ago, the players met face to face, but Wall was coy about the discussion. âYeah, we had meetings. Weâre grown men,â Wall acknowledged. âWe talk one on one but thatâs locker room talk. It sticks in there.â
Washington Wizards teammates John Wall and Marcin Gortat met privately last week to confront each other about where they stood with one another, league sources told ESPN. It was the first time the two spoke in person regarding Gortat's tweet many interpreted as a passive-aggressive slight directed at the All-Star guard, according to league sources.
The meeting, which didn't last long, facilitated the airing of grievances, but sources say there is still more work to be done to fully repair that relationship. Those close to the franchise suggest these are natural altercations from the rigors of such an emotional season.
Also, Wall had thoughts on the recent âeverybody eatsâ line â first used by Bradley Beal following the win over the Raptors in which Washington shared the ball for 30 assists, and interpreted by several fans and media outlets as a shot against Wall. âThat was funny to me. Thatâs a joke. If you want to say team win and put it in exclamation points or everybody eats and all that. Iâm one of the top point guards that passes the ball more than anybody. I hear a lot of times I pass too much sometimes,â Wall told NBC Sports Washington during his first interview of the circuit. âI know what I do for my team, I know what I bring every night. Like I said, if any guys have a problem with me they can talk to me face to face as a man. And if you canât do that then I lose a lot of respect for you.â
âWell, my comment is that itâs clearly the whole drama that was stirred up from a few days ago, a week ago, whatever,â Gortat said. âIt was definitely not even me or Brad or anybody on the team was trying to hit him with anything thatâs going to make him pissed or thatâs going to make him frustrated. And there wasnât definitely any hit at him, basically. âWe talk about team win with 30 assists a game, everybody played for each other. We enjoyed the game,â Gortat continued. âAnd basically I see that, you know, he felt different way. He felt it was a different way and he came back with that kind of a comment. So, now we got to ask each other questions, whoâs attacking who?â
Gortat said he has spoken to Wall since sending the tweet and believed that the two had come to an understanding. âI talked to him a few days ago,â Gortat said. âI thought we verified that. I told him that it was nothing personal and I definitely didnât think about him when I was writing that or whatever I was saying. We never thought about attacking him and I thought we had this verified.â
John Wall will be out possibly as long as two months, but the Wizards are not expected to make a major move to cover for his absence due to another round of knee surgery. One scoutâs appraisal of the Wizards: "Theyâve got some real internal issues, and it starts with the fact that John Wall is not a leader."
Candace Buckner: (1/2) #Wizards F Markieff Morris had a very colorful response to Mavericks' J.J. Barea's comments that teammates didn't like John Wall.
After the Washington Wizards defeated the Detroit Pistons on Friday night, John Wall revealed just how a recent players-only meeting went awry. The session was intended for open and honest dialogue but while some players spoke freely, others shut down. âWe had our team meeting,â Wall said Friday. âA couple guys took it the negative way and it hurt our team. Instead of taking it in a positive way like we did in the past and using it to build our team up, it kind of set us back a little bit.â
Coach Scott Brooks said he never knew about the meeting. Even if he had known, Brooks said he would not have meddled in the playersâ discussion or asked how it played out. Without knowing the topics, Brooks has been in the NBA long enough not to be surprised it had gone poorly. âIâve been in the league 30 years now. Thereâs been a lot of good meetings, a lot of not-so-good meetings. You just take them for what they are,â Brooks said. âBut Iâve never been in a meeting where the issue is not two things: playing together and playing hard. Thatâs what always the meetings are about. âGuys, weâre not playing together. We donât trust each other. Weâre not playing hard.â â
"It was tough. I try to keep all our stuff as personal as possible but I think in a way not everybody got a chance to speak whenever they wanted to," Bradley Beal said. "They didn't want to bring up an issue or something they had with a problem with on the team. Regardless of what may be going on, as men we've got to be able to accept what the next man says, be respectful about it and move on from it. I think it was one of those situations where we didn't necessarily get everything that we wanted to get accomplished. "Honestly, it was probably - I won't say pointless," Beal continued, "but we didn't accomplish what we needed to accomplish in that meeting."
Candace Buckner: Here's a damning revelation about this year's #Wizards team. When asked if he can "coach effort," Scott Brooks said: âI never had to worry about that and this year itâs definitely cropped up too many times."
Michael Lee: Scott Brooks told reporters in Charlotte, "We're going to have to change some things" after the Wizards decided not to compete in Steve Clifford's return to the bench. Brooks called the performance in a 133-109 loss, "unacceptable."
The Vertical: The Hornets have broken their franchise record for points in a half with 77. Charlotte is shooting 31-48 (64.6%) from the field and the Hornets are 7-14 from behind the arc [against the Washington Wizards] đŽ
The perception of the Wizards from the outside and within their own locker room at the midway point of this 2017-18 season perhaps says a lot about how the expectations are higher than they have been for this franchise in quite some time. After 41 games, exactly the halfway point, the Wizards are 23-18. Over the course of a full 82-game schedule that would amount to 46 wins. Considering that this team has only won 46 games or more twice since the 1978-79 season, that's not bad at all. But the Wizards have reached a new era where simply being good isn't good enough. When asked to grade the first half, head coach Scott Brooks and his players all offered marks within the C to B range. What held them back from As is the fact they have lost many games they feel they should have won.
The Wizards have had consistency issues in years past, but this is an unusual split. Past records show they are generally very good against lesser teams. "I know yâall are tired of hearing it and Iâm tired of saying it," John Wall said. "Until we prove that we can do it on a nightly basis, weâre going to have these same conversations.â
Candace Buckner: #Wizards lose 103-98 to the Brooklyn Nets and closing this road trip with a 2-3 record. Coach Scott Brooks, again, criticizes first unit w/o naming names: âI thought guys off he bench did a great job of competing. We got to get more effort from our starters.â
Candace Buckner: More Brooks: âThe starters gotta come in and give us effort.â Once again, Brooks sparingly played his starting frontcourt through the second half.
J. Michael Falgoust: Gortat on his future (hes still under contract): "I know how the business works. Im the oldest guy on the team" #Wizards
J. Michael Falgoust: Gortat sounds agitated. Talking about how centers have become devalued around the league #Wizards
After Gortat proclaimed the teamâs reserves âone of the worst benches in the league right nowâ following Washingtonâs seventh loss in nine games Saturday against Chicago, Brooks and Gortat stood together in front of the team before practice Monday. Gortat apologized, and Brooks preached unity to a team that canât afford to waste energy pointing fingers. âI look at things from a whole, because this is how â when I played, I was a backup, and I didnât like to be divided,â Brooks said. âWe donât have two teams here, we have one basketball team, and right now weâre not happy and content on being 2-7.â
âAnd I wouldnât have begged him to come back,â Wall interjected. âI wouldâve been, âDonât come back because in two years, I ainât coming back.â We wouldâve figured something out. âŚ I think everybody blew it out of proportion for no reason. I mean, if you look at any two great teammates, and two young, great guys, thatâs talented and want to be great, youâre going to have ups and downs. Everything is not going to be perfect.â
June 25, 2021 | 12:06 am EDT Update
Ohm Youngmisuk: Reggie Jackson says Clippers have âempowered meâ to be able to take and hit big timely shots that have given Clips momentum time and time again in the postseason. He said despite not playing in games during his Clips career to now being a huge shot-maker, theyâve supported him.
StatMuse: There are only 2 players in NBA history to average 3+ three-pointers on 65 TS% in a single playoff run (min 15 games): 1. Steph Curry in 2017 2. Reggie Jackson in 2021 Reggie is averaging 18 PPG on 51/42/88% this playoffs. pic.twitter.com/OGL1D6EDIV
Ohm Youngmisuk: Reggie Jackson said Patrick Beverley was animated at halftime imploring team to not let go of the rope and playing even harder in second half. It showed as Clippers played like their season was on the line.
Kellan Olson: Monty Williams said he thought he probably played Chris Paul too much. Said he hasn’t done anything for 10 days. He noted he did have to play him extended minutes to some extent with Cam Payne’s injury.